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[Scratch Build] The making of my first custom case for my first watercooled pc

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I recently built my first gaming pc by myself, and it was great fun. But now that I'm done, there is a large gap in me that needs to be filled!
So i first thought about watercooling (just for looks really), but the watercooling support of mitx cases (mine in particular) is either rather poor, or they are way too large. At that point, I started to think about making a custom case, read up on all the people who already did it (M1, Nova (now Cerberus), Compact Splash and the likes) and now i started to design my own! In this first post you will find the most recent images and specs. You can find all updates in the second post.

So here it is:




As you might have noticed, the case has a somewhat unusual layout.
All the connectors to the motherboard, GPU and PSU are on the bottom of the case, hidden inside a small chamber wich raises the components to allow for more room for said cables.
The entire case will be standing on aluminium case feet and thus raised ~1,5cm off the ground, so cables can be routed out of the underside of the pc in any direction, or i could even put a hole in the table for ultimate clean-ness.

This case is made using 2mm steel panels powdercoated in black and three 3mm acrylic panels for an unobstructed view on all of the components in there. All the panels are held together by Parvum Modding Cubes, which are also used in every Parvum case.

The case supports:
Hardware:
Mini ITX Motherboard
Full Length GPU
SFX PSU
3x SSD, 2 on the other side of the motherboard tray (not visible in the picture) and one on the radiator, probably even more
280mm radiator, up to 60mm thick or up to 30mm thick in push-pull
Edited by simonwa - 5/24/16 at 1:15pm
post #2 of 28
Thread Starter 
Updates:

2016-01-29
2016-02-04
2016-02-17
2016-02-21
2016-02-24
2016-03-06
2016-05-03
Edited by simonwa - 5/24/16 at 1:18pm
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
I recently built my first gaming pc by myself, and it was great fun. But now that I'm done, there is a large gap in me that needs to be filled!
So i first thought about watercooling (just for looks really), but the watercooling support of mitx cases (mine in particular) is either rather poor, or they are way too large. At that point, I started to think about making a custom case, read up on all the people who already did it (M1, Nova, Compact Splash and the likes) and now i started to design my own!
Here is a quick peek at what I already did:


Three of the panels will be acrylic, to show off all that sweet hardware. The panels have no bends, they are held together by 10x10x10mm cubes with threads (parvum modding cubes)
Currently in the model:
  • mini itx motherboard (socket position of the msi z87i)
  • full length gpu
  • SFX-L power supply
  • EK Supremacy CPU Block
  • custom GPU block model (could not find measurements for EK FC980)
  • ddc pump with ek top
  • 240x60mm radiator with 2x 120mm fans
  • all bitspower fittings (because i found the dimensions of all those)



Intake/Exhaust for 2 120mm fans


The interior is flipped 90 degrees, so the IO is on the bottom. still have to think about how i want to do the case feet.


Here you have a better view of the inside of the case. I will be moving the pump, atm its placement is based on the cpu socket position, wich is likely to change when using a different motherboard


A better view of the clearance between the cpu, loop and the psu. gpu removed for obvious visibility reasons.

Todo:
  • Case feet: they have to be at least 5cm tall to leave room for the cables
  • Power Switch placement: as you probably noticed, atm there is none
  • Add more vents somewhere, as the IO cutouts and fan intakes are the only ventilation
  • Still need a catchy name
  • let me know


Suggestions for changes and/or additions are very welcome!
Edited by simonwa - 2/24/16 at 1:09am
post #4 of 28
seems really nice, subbed:thumb:
LIttle One
(15 items)
 
Old but Gold
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
QX9300 Dell Nvidia Quadro FX3700M Hynix 
Hard DriveOSMonitorCase
Corsair Force 3 Windows 10 17" WUXGA Dell Precision M6400 
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LIttle One
(15 items)
 
Old but Gold
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
QX9300 Dell Nvidia Quadro FX3700M Hynix 
Hard DriveOSMonitorCase
Corsair Force 3 Windows 10 17" WUXGA Dell Precision M6400 
  hide details  
Reply
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
A little pre-update, because it is gioing to take me some time to complete what i am doing right now. I made some changes to the design, including:
  • 280mm radiator in the front instead of a 240mm -> had to increase the height, but that is not really a problem for me personally, as i just want it to take up little room on my desk
  • adjusted venting on the panel for the 280mm rad
  • changed pump position and had to redo the tubing (not really, just wanted to because looks)

I also tried to design some case feet, but didn't really find something i liked. I also have no idea where to put the power button still. maybe on the feet/ sleds? we'll see.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Oh Look! It's an update!

In the last few days I changed a lot of the case, redid some parts, wasted much time redoing the cooling tubes a few times (and moving everything just slightly afterwards to redo everything again...) and more. Have a look:



First change was extending that motherboard tray to the front cubes (thanks Aibohphobia over on the SSF forums) , I really don't know why I did not do that in the first place. Also, I added cubes to the window panels as an experimental alternative to glueing the panels together (tell me what you think please, i am not sure about this)



I also raised the components inside the case to make room for the cables (thanks to iFreilicht on the SSF forums for that idea) and the raised IO plate is slotted for ventilation and bent to hide the cables. At the front you can see that I added a vandal switch, it actually is mounted to the acrylic and is holding up another cover plate to hide cables. I'll have to use some connector to be able to take the panel and the button off, but i think it looks good and i really don't know where else to put the button, as i dont really need high case feet anymore.



View from the bottom. The power button will be blocking some ports on my gpu. With my current gpu the only HDMI port will be blocked, but i am using displayport anyways and i got three of those on there. The case feet in the model are LianLi 35mm ones.



The probably second biggest change is that i added support for 280mm radiators, up to 60mm thick in push or pull. I also changed the mounting slots to allow for air flowing more freely when using a 280mm radiator.



And last but not least, a shot with components. The radiator in the model is not as high as the one i am planning to get, so that's why there is so much room above it. also, as the radiator i'll be using has ports on the side as well as the top and one on the bottom, i am ditching the fill/drain port (and saving ~100€ by doing so). All i have to do to drain the loop is remove the top panel, screw in a barb and flip the case over (would have had to flip it even with a drain)

Todo:
  • sleep (was up until 1-2 in the morning the last few days)
  • put some thought into cable routing and add neccessary holes and cutouts
  • get manufacturing figured out (suggestions? I live in Germany) and probably modify the model a bit to make it manufacturable
  • prepare myself to splurge some money, because this will most likely be pretty expensive and i still have to buy 500€ worth of watercooling parts

In terms of changes i have to make to the case I would say I'm pretty much finished. If you still want to make a recommendation for a change, please go ahead! I will have to sleep on this some nights and maybe some new ideas will pop into my head before sending this design to a manufacturer.
Edited by simonwa - 2/3/16 at 4:15pm
post #7 of 28
looks awesome man, subbed for the ride
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
A rather small update this time:

I had to remodel the case in AutoCad in order to have smooth circles instead of 24 sided polygons when exporting to dxf, so thats what I have been doing the last couple of days. And i thought, while i'm at it anyways, have this:

I had some rendering issues, that's why this is the only image.

I also contacted some companies with the files, some of them already responded. looks like the case will cost me something around 300€ at most. I don't have to change a whole lot, but apparently there is no 2mm acrylic avaliable so i'll have to go up to 4mm there.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
not really an update but i did some more rendering yesterday and today, and here are some results. i wonder if someone can guess what program i have been using tongue.gif


obligatory moneyshot $$$


i like this straight on side view.


tilted up, giving a better view on the cpu block.


Making fan blades by hand in sketchup is pretty time consuming and annoying, but i think it was worth it.


and finally a render inside an actual room. i also added a 19mm vandal switch.

i'm still using the model with 2mm acrylic panels here, still debating if i will go 2 or 4... symmetry vs thicker acrylic...

by the way, does someone know any good rendering / 3d modeling sooftware that i can use for free? currently i am using autocad with a student license and (you probably guessed it) KeyShot for rendering. the problem with autocad is that it is really hard (vandal switch took me an hour vs 5 minutes in sketchup) and i would like to get rid of the watermark when rendering.. but really like the way keyshot handles different materials. suggestions?
post #10 of 28
you might consider blender and cycles
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